India on Friday refused to sign the “Osaka Track”, a framework to promote cross-border data flow with enhanced protections, launched at the G20 summit in Japan, The Indian Express reported.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe formally declared the launch of Osaka Track at the G20 summit on Friday. The initiative seeks to standardise rules of global movement of data with enhanced protection for personal information, intellectual property and cybersecurity, according to Japan Times. Abe had first introduced the idea in a speech at this year’s World Economic Forum.
Twenty-four countries and groupings signed a statement agreeing to the Osaka Track. India, Indonesia, Egypt and South Africa did not sign the declaration. The declaration described the Osaka Track as “a process which demonstrates our commitment to promote international policy discussions, inter alia, international rule-making on trade-related aspects of electronic commerce at the WTO”.
India is among the many countries that have stressed on data localisation, with the Reserve Bank of India issuing a directive last year that mandated foreign firms to store their payments data within the country for “unfettered access...for supervisory purposes”. American firms like Google, Mastercard, Visa and Amazon have lobbied against data localisation rules around the world, including India.
Earlier on Friday, India had said that data was a “new form of wealth” and there was a need to take into account the requirements of developing countries, PTI reported.
Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said India recognises the importance of the interface between trade and the digital economy. He was addressing a press conference after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
“We also affirm the role of data for development,” Gokhale said. “From our perspective, data is a major issue, it is an issue which we are also domestically looking at where international rule-making is taking place.”
Gokhale said India’s view and the view of BRICS countries was that data should be discussed within the World Trade Organization context and not outside of it.
At the inauguration of the summit, Trump had said that the US opposed data localisation. “We must ensure resilience and security of our 5G networks, it’s essential to our shared safety and prosperity,” he had said. “US opposes data localisation and policies which have been used to restrict digital trade flows and violate privacy and intellectual property protection.”